The suggested wedding gift for a 23rd anniversary is a silver plate.
For Monica Calle, her husband Cesar had something a bit more personal in mind for their 23rd wedding anniversary — his kidney.
The five-hour, life-saving donation happened Feb. 19 at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood. According to the hospital, this was the first kidney transplant at the affiliated and new Memorial Transplant Institute.
In September, the Memorial Transplant Institute received federal approval from United Network for Organ Sharing to open its adult and pediatric kidney transplant program at Memorial Regional Hospital and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood.
The Institute also received approval to establish a living donor kidney recovery component.
“You guys got us back into shape, you got us strong, ready to tackle the next adventure of our lives,” Monica, who works at the hospital in scheduling patients’ surgeries, told the surgical team in a video posted on the Memorial Healthcare System’s Facebook page Tuesday.
In the hospital’s release, surgeon Dr. Juan Arenas, chief of the Transplant Institute, said: “We are so glad we finally accomplished what we set out to do. It was a long road to get here, but we had an incredible match, an incredible choice of patient and donor recipient and everything went as planned.”
Before the operation, Monica, 39, was on nightly dialysis for three years because of polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder she said came from her mother. She was diagnosed 10 years ago, The Sun-Sentinel reported.
“This is an amazing, amazing gift. God put this man into my life for a reason,” Monica said in the hospital release of her husband Cesar, 52, who is a computer network technician.
“He really did. Twenty-three years ago he came into my life for a reason,” she said. “He knew what he was doing, and he saved my life.”